Thousands sign as tram anger grows

Coun Paul Galley and Coun Tony Williams with the tram crossing petition at Blackpool Town Hall.
Coun Paul Galley and Coun Tony Williams with the tram crossing petition at Blackpool Town Hall.
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MORE than 3,000 residents have signed a petition calling for council bosses to keep a tram crossing open.

The petition has now been handed in at Blackpool Town Hall in a bid to persuade civic leaders to keep the crossing between Lauderdale Avenue and Blandford Avenue in Anchorsholme open to motorists and pedestrians.

Last year the then ruling Tory executive agreed the junction should be retained, but no action was taken and the decision has been brought back before the new Labour council to be reconsidered.

Councillors deferred a decision on the issue at a meeting of the executive in July.

Anchorsholme councillor Paul Galley said: “We held a public meeting in July before the executive, and the people of Anchorsholme who attended were all extremely angry at recent developments.

“It’s the residents who went out and collected the 3,000 signatures, that’s how strongly they feel about the proposed closure.

“The Labour administration said in their manifesto they would listen to the people of Blackpool so let’s see if they stick to their promise.”

Fellow ward councillor Tony Williams said the signatures included school governors, members of the clergy and health workers.

He said: “I find it strange such an important and legally-binding decision had not been implemented more than 11 months after it was made. If the residents and Coun Galley and I had not intervened, I am certain this crossing would have just closed.”

Michael Stewart, of Ipswich Place, Anchorsholme, who is among the campaigners, said he hoped the council took note of the petition.

He said: “I would like to think it does show the strength of feeling in the area and I would like to think members will take note of that and find a way to give the community what it wants.

“The council talks about listening to the people so let’s see how true that statement is.”

Council officers say keeping the crossing open would cause disruption in the area because traffic would have to wait for trams to pass at each 10 minute interval.

A report to the executive also says providing a “signalised option” would add an additional £400,000 cost to the tramway contract.

A public meeting is being held on Thursday at 7pm at the Baptist Church, St George’s Avenue.